Medical Cannabis Relieves Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Dementia

Abstract.
Background: Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Objective: To measure efficacy and safety of medical cannabis oil (MCO) containing THC as an add-on to pharmacotherapy, in relieving behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD).
Methods: Eleven AD patients were recruited to an open label, 4 weeks, prospective trial.
Results: Ten patients completed the trial. Significant reduction in CGI severity score (6.5 to 5.7; p < 0.01) and NPI score were recorded (44.4 to 12.8; p < 0.01). NPI domains of significant decrease were: Delusions, agitation/aggression, irritability,
apathy, sleep and caregiver distress.
Conclusion: Adding MCO to AD patients’ pharmacotherapy is safe and a promising treatment option.

Authors: A Shelef, Y Barak, U Berger, D Paleacu, S Tadger, I Plopsky, Y Baruch

Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (2016) 51: 15 – 19

Clinical Trials, Studies and Publications (click to access):

Safety and Efficacy of Medical Cannabis Oil for Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia: An-Open Label, Add-On, Pilot Study

 

Alzheimer‘s Disease: Cannabinoids – Protecting against a toxic protein

Cannabinoids and other drugs that block inflammation in neurons could help thwart the progression of Alzheimer‘s disease. One of the hallmarks of this neurodegenerative disorder is the accumulation of clumps of amyloid-β protein within brain cells. Researchers led by David Schubert of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in the USA used a tissue culture model to study the toxic effects of these protein aggregates. They determined that the production of amyloid-β initiates an inflammatory response that ultimately leads to neuronal death. However, the researchers also identified important protective mechanisms. For example, the brain produces compounds called endocannabinoids that help eliminate amyloid-β. Treatment with related chemical compounds like tetrahydrocannabinol–the active ingredient in marijuana–also reduced inflammation and prevented cell death, suggesting a potential avenue for preventing neurological damage from this devastating disease.

Authors: A Currais, O Quehenberger, AM Armando, D Daugherty, P Maher, D Schubert
npj Aging and Mechanisms of Disease (2016) 2: 16012

Clinical Trials, Studies and Publications (click to access):

Amyloid proteotoxicity initiate and inflammatory response blocked by cannabinoids

The influence of cannabinoids on generic traits of neurodegeneration

Abstract:

Alzheimers-300x224In an increasingly ageing population, the incidence of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease are rising. While the aetiologies of these disorders are different, a number of common mechanisms that underlie their neurodegenerative components have been elucidated; namely neuroinflammation, excitotoxicity, mitochondrial dysfunction and reduced trophic support. Current therapies focus on treatment of the symptoms and attempt to delay the progression of these diseases but there is currently no cure. Modulation of the endogenous cannabinoid system is emerging as a potentially viable option in the treatment of neurodegeneration. Endocannabinoid signalling has been found to be altered in many neurodegenerative disorders. To this end, pharmacological manipulation of the endogenous cannabinoid system, as well as application of phytocannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoids have been investigated. Signalling from the CB1 and CB2 receptors are known to be involved in the regulation of Ca2+ homeostasis, mitochondrial function, trophic support and inflammatory status, respectively, while other receptors gated by cannabinoids such as PPARγ, are gaining interest in their anti-inflammatory properties. Through multiple lines of evidence, this evolutionarily conserved neurosignalling system has shown neuroprotective capabilities and is therefore a potential target for neurodegenerative disorders. This review details the mechanisms of neurodegeneration and highlights the beneficial effects of cannabinoid treatment.

Clinical Trials, Studies and Publications:

This review details the mechanisms of neurodegeneration and highlights the beneficial effects of cannabinoid treatment.

THC and its analogues may provide an improved therapeutic for Alzheimer’s disease

Abstract

Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia among the elderly, and with the ever-increasing size of this population, cases of Alzheimer’s disease are expected to triple over the next 50 years. Consequently, the development of treatments that slow or halt the disease progression have become imperative to both improve the quality of life for patients as well as reduce the health care costs attributable to Alzheimer’s disease. Here, we demonstrate that the active component of marijuana, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), competitively inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE) as well as prevents AChE-induced amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) aggregation, the key pathological marker of Alzheimer’s disease. Computational modeling of the THC-AChE interaction revealed that THC binds in the peripheral anionic site of AChE, the critical region involved in amyloidgenesis. Compared to currently approved drugs prescribed for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, THC is a considerably superior inhibitor of Aβ aggregation, and this study provides a previously unrecognized molecular mechanism through which cannabinoid molecules may directly impact the progression of this debilitating disease.

Clinical Trials, Studies and Publications:

A Molecular Link Between the Active Component of Marijuana and Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology

The Potential Therapeutic Effects of THC on Alzheimer’s Disease

Neuroprotective effect of cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive component from Cannabis sativa, on β-amyloid-induced toxicity in PC12 cells

Cannabidiol reduces Aβ-induced neuroinflammation and promotes hippocampal neurogenesis through PPARγ involvement

Alzheimer’s disease; taking the edge off with cannabinoids?

THC is also more effective at blocking clumps of protein that can inhibit memory and cognition in Alzheimer’s patients

Research done by the Scripps Research Institute in California shows that the active ingredient in marijuana, THC, prevents the formation of deposits in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease. THC was found to prevent an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase from accelerating the formation of “Alzheimer plaques” in the brain more effectively than commercially marketed drugs. THC is also more effective at blocking clumps of protein that can inhibit memory and cognition in Alzheimer’s patients, as reported in Molecular Pharmaceutics.

Abstract

“…with the ever-increasing size of this population, cases of Alzheimer’s disease are expected to triple over the next 50 years. Consequently, the development of treatments that slow or halt the disease progression have become imperative to both improve the quality of life for patients as well as reduce the health care costs attributable to Alzheimer’s disease…Compared to currently approved drugs prescribed for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease…this study provides a previously unrecognized molecular mechanism through which cannabinoid molecules may directly impact the progression of this debilitating disease.”

Clinical Trials, Studies and Publications:

Marijuana’s Active Ingredient Shown to Inhibit Primary Marker of Alzheimer’s Disease

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have found that the active ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, inhibits the formation of amyloid plaque, the primary pathological marker for Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, the study said, THC is “a considerably superior inhibitor of [amyloid plaque] aggregation” to several currently approved drugs for treating the disease. read more -.

Clinical Trials, Studies and Publications:

Treating Alzheimer’s with Medical Marijuana

Face of Alzheimers DiseaseAlzheimer’s is a form of dementia that affects memory, behavior and thinking. In fact, Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 50 to 80 percent of all dementia diagnosis. Contrary to popular belief, Alzheimer’s is not a normal stage of aging. Alzheimer’s is a disease that eats away at brain cells via the formation of plaque clumping across the brain.

Alzheimer’s is irreversible and progressive, meaning it worsens as time goes on. In the early stages, memory loss for people who suffer from Alzheimer’s is mild, but as the disease progresses, memory loss becomes more severe. Late-stage Alzheimer’s patients may even decline in regards to mobility as the disease continues to attack the portions of the brain that governs these functions.

Alzheimer’s Symptoms
As most people age, slower thinking and occasional forgetfulness is to be expected. However, more severe memory loss and confusion may be a sign that our brain cells are declining, by way of Alzheimer’s disease.

Difficulty remembering newly learned information is the earliest and most common symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. This is due to the fact that Alzheimer’s disease usually starts in the portion of the brain that controls learning. As the disease progresses, the symptoms become more severe. Advanced Alzheimer’s symptoms includes mood and behavioral changes and disorientation; unexplained confusion in regards to occurrences, times and places; unjustified suspicion about family members, caregivers and friends; and complications with talking, swallowing and walking.

Clinical Trials, Studies and Publications:

Treating Alzheimer’s with Medical Marijuana
Treating Alzheimer’s with current pharmaceutical medications may provide no meaningful benefit when considering their high price tag and the risk of side effects. One of the five pharmaceutical Alzheimer’s drugs, although rarely prescribed, is known to cause severe liver damage. The remaining four pharmaceutical Alzheimer’s drugs are known to come with side effects such as dizziness, vomiting, muscle cramps and tremors.

Various studies have found that marijuana’s active ingredient may be better at inhibiting plaque formation in the brain, which is the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. THC, the active ingredient in marijuana responsible for it’s affects on the brain, has been found to suppress the enzyme AChE, which is responsible for accelerating plaque formation across the brain for Alzheimer’s sufferers. THC, found in marijuana has been found to stop AChE from forming plaque across the brain. The top two performing pharmaceutical Alzheimer’s drugs have been found to stop AChE from forming plaque across the brain in Alzheimer’s patients only 22 percent and 7 percent, respectively. This indicates that treating Alzheimer’s with medicinal marijuana can be a more effective and safer alternative treatment to pharmaceutical drugs.